Regardless whether you are that person who even still has yet to hear about the Central Florida Mom whose been on trial for the alleged murder of her daughter who mysteriously died a few years ago or whether you are that person who bought a plane ticket to fly down to Orlando who then acquired a ticket to actually sit in the courtroom during what has become the 21st Century’s “OJ” trial scenario, it is no wonder that this trial has become international news. People actually do seem to care or at least turn a head when an irresponsible mother neglects her daughter leaving her in a drug-induced slumber in the back seat of her car while she parties her life away (allegedly).
Well, I was not wrapped up in this case by any means. Going sometimes weeks at a time without even stopping to pay attention to the latest news report in the saga. But when the verdict was read, my attention was given. Partly because I stopped into a local business for their specific services and was asked to wait a few minutes while all the employees huddled around a computer screen to watch the verdict. Partly because I was curious.
One of my friends who is a lawyer had kept close eye on the case. Probably because he was interested. Mostly because he is a learner, learning from others in his field. Based on my conversations with him, I was not surprised that Casey was acquitted of “Murder 1.” I was, however, surprised that she was acquitted of abuse and neglect.
I asked my lawyer friend for his reaction. I asked him 7 questions. Here are his responses:
1. can you describe your feelings and immediate thoughts when you heard the Casey Anthony verdict read?
I was surprised, but not shocked and also disappointed. I believe there was enough evidence to support at least a conviction of manslaughter.
2. was the verdict what you expected, and if not what did you expect?
It was not what I expected, but I have been practicing law long enough to know that you never know what a jury will do.
3. what could the prosecution have done differently in presenting this case?
Its hard to second guess the prosecution. Technically they may have over charged the case, but the evidence was what it was and listening to the alternate juror today, they wanted a cause of death. That’s never going to come out.
4. what do you think the sentencing will be, and does her already-served jail time count in her sentencing?
Because the four remaining counts are misdemeanors, I don’t think she will get much more if any time. She probably qualifies for some credit at least for time served.
5. what do you expect the reaction of Central Floridians to be over the coming days?
I think Central Floridians, and folks around the country are disappointed. They feel like justice has not been served and that Casey got away with murder.
6. as a follower of Jesus yourself, how would you suggest that the church of Central Florida respond to the verdict, to Casey, and to her family?
I tell people all the time, our system is not perfect, it can’t be. We have to look to the Lord for justice, not the system. The judicial system is good, the best in the world, but that can’t be where we look for justice and fairness.
7. how would you suggest that the church of Central Florida respond around water coolers and on office breaks and in bars and over meals as this verdict is being vented about?
I think everyone needs to move on. The process did what the process does, and that’s it. Ultimate judgment is not ours, but the Lord’s.
There you have it.
The sentencing came down today. One year for each of the four counts of providing false evidence along with what will probably be a hefty fine. Casey has already served nearly three years in jail. That will count toward the four she must now serve. So, only about a year and a half before she can make public appearances for book signings and movie deals and Casey Anthony bobble-head dolls.
I digress. Seriously though, this is a very serious case. Anytime a child’s life is lost, and especially when it is taken (allegedly), attention is deserved.
:: does anyone who knows Casey know whether she is learning and living the ways of Jesus with someone now? If not, I pray that she will. Not the “North American Go-to-Church and Modify-Behavior” version of Christianity. No. Walking WITH Jesus. Not just living FOR Him. I pray she will be wrecked and restored by the Good News of a God who graciously and loving came near and now wants to walk near with each of us.
:: why has the international media paid such close attention to the case of a negligent mother whose daughter’s life was lost, and yet they pay little attention to the millions whose lives are taken by abortion? This question was posed by a friend of mine. A well-meaning friend, who, like me is not trying to be all holier-than-thou here. I understand that the plight of moms who face the abortion choice is not as simple as some who stand against abortion make it out to be. However, many cases where babies are aborted occur because of a would-have-been mother neglecting a more-than-a-fetus child conceived during a careless, short-lived, indulgent experience. That is worthy of media attention, too.
:: what would Jesus do? Ok. I admit. I went cheesy on this last question. But read me out here. Jesus wouldn’t just show up as a spiteful protester outside the Casey home or a passionate picketer outside of an abortion clinic. He would offer His presence, like He has to all of us, but not in those ways, in my opinion. He would love and befriend.
He loves Casey and every other young mom, including those who labor during sleepless nights to care for a little one as well as those who party late into the night neglecting the care of the little ones given to them as well as those who look for a way out of both scenarios. That’s the Gospel. No one gets left out of this Good News of a God coming near in spite of our selfishness and in the fullness of His love.
May we as His followers love them, too. May we become more attentive to living out the presence of the Gospel than we are about giving our attention to a verdict read about Casey Anthony and a verdict judgmentally passed upon other young mothers who are expected to make “holy” choices without the loving presence of a Holy God through the gracious life of a loving friend.